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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Open Burning Leads to Field and Barn Fire near Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE - NOVEMBER 22, 2022 - A caretaker who started a small brush pile last night, had the fire move to a field and barn later Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was located at the intersection of Faye/Owen Road and Armstrong Road intersection.

Ted Maze Fire Chief Oolitic Fire Department tries to cool down a barn fire Tuesday afternoon

The caretaker of the Fergerson farm told firefighters he lit the small fire last night and watched over it throughout the day today. He then went to check on other properties. On his way back he seen a large column of smoke and dialed 911 to report a small fire near a barn.

A small open burn created a field fire that spread into a nearby field and barn; residents are discouraged from open burning due to dry windy conditions

" We were initially dispatched to a small field fire near a barn around 12:10 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. When we topped the hill, we found the barn to be involved in fire," said Monte Wright Fire Chief Indian Creek Township Volunteer Fire Department.

The smoke from this afternoon's fire could be seen from Indiana State Road 37 and U.S 50 West intersection and from Bloomington, Indiana.

The caretaker was able to get a several tractors out of the nearby barns: before the one barn became fully involved with over 400 bales of hay inside. Firefighters worked to contain the nearby field fire and protect a grain silo.

Indian Creek requested additional help of manpower, brush rigs and tankers from Marshall Township, Perry Township, and Oolitic Volunteer Fire Departments.

Firefighters are using a dump tank as fire engines and tankers shuttle water from the Indian Creek Fire station in Fayetteville.

Indian Creek Township fire officials say they will probably be on the scene several hours today as the fire will be impossible to completely get out, but remains a fire threat to nearby fields, structures and properties.

The National Weather Service has issued a fire threat throughout the day yesterday and today with wind gusts of up to 25-30 miles per hour.

Despite the warnings, people continue to open burn during these conditions. Fire officials say it is very unsafe to burn and the fire is spread quickly and into nearby structures.

Many counties use burn bans to discourage open burning that keep fire departments throughout southern Indiana busy. However, local fire officials tell the Lawrence County Zephyr the burn bans are in effective because there is no penalty or enforcement in ordinances. Fire officials end up getting called out to police the fires, but law enforcement cannot write tickets.

There is liability on the property owner for fires getting on other people property but those are civil actions. Cities and towns have more enforcement ability and can issue citations.

Oolitic and Mitchell Town Council are looking to give fires chiefs the ability to issue citations when law enforcement is unavailable.

At 2:49 p.m. Marion, Mitchell and Huron Volunteer Fire Departments was dispatched to a large field fire on at 3:11 p.m. in 200 block of Burton Cemetery Road near Mitchell.

Marion Township firefighters requested additional manpower and brush and tanker stand-by by Mitchell and Huron Volunteer Fire Departments.

At this time it is not known what caused the fire on Burton Cemtery Road.

The dry conditions are expected to continue and the rain on Thanksgiving Day will only provide temporary relief. At this time fire officials ask residents to refrain all open burning.


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